The Road to Lorien

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The main location for the “Lorien” scenes in Fellowship of the Ring is located along Paradise Road, out of Glenorchy, at the Western tip of Lake Wakatipu, a 50 km curvy drive from Queenstown. The landscape is stunningly beautiful even for New Zealand, where there is stunning beauty round every corner. The area also sports plenty of the ancient Southern beech forest which is such a good approximation of the mallorn trees of the magic elven realm.

I’ve been able to visit this location on three occasions so far. These photos are from an evening excursion in March 2007:  I was travelling with my parents, it had been a rainy, stormy day, and we arrived in Glenorchy only in the late afternoon. But we needed to travel on the next day, and I had set my heart on going up Paradise Road, so I convinced them that we should drive up there no matter what the weather, or the time. And were we ever amply rewarded: halfway down the road, the weather began to clear up and we were gifted with a gorgeous solid rainbow shimmering in the late afternoon light.

As we were approaching the actual location, we were  flagged down by a lady guarding an orange traffic cone: somewhat unexpectedly, since Paradise Road is really one of the remotest and least trafficked unsealed backcountry roads imaginable! We were asked to stop for a few minutes, because there was a film shoot in progress… For a moment there, I thought we had fallen through a wormhole back in time, to when they were shooting Lord of the Rings. But no: when I asked what movie, I was told it was for the Narnia series, and given the timing, it must have been Prince Caspian. The location also appears  in X-Men – Wolverine: There is no mistaking the shape of that one mountain in the background behind the hut of the old couple who find the protagonist running around in the nude and take him in, and suffer a violent cruel death for their efforts!

By the time we got to the actual location, the sun had set and it was beginning to rain again, which made for some very stunning light effects! I don’t have too many landscape photos where pink is the predominant color. Given the lack of light, some of the photos of the woodland turned out a bit shaky. But when I was sorting through my old photos earlier on, selecting them for my online gallery, I found those fuzzy photos actually represent the magic of the elven woodland realm better than a technically perfect shot could have done! Just call them Art. 😀

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